ESPN’s Samantha Ponder published an essay regarding “Truth and Twitter” on the www.prothirtyone.com blog.
The NFL’s bullying scandal has dominated headlines for much of November and spurred debate. The subject of harassment also has sparked reflections from several ESPN personalities about their own bullying incidents, past and present.
• Dick Vitale, college basketball analyst, shared his experience with cruel taunts that have followed him for years.
• Matthew Berry, senior Fantasy analyst, wrote that he can relate to Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin’s reaction to being bullied. Berry recently shared reader reactions to his bullying column.
• Samantha Ponder, College GameDay reporter, weighed in on how social media amplifies the spotlight — and criticism.
by Sheldon Spencer
ICYMI: Highlights from the past week on Front Row
• The Lineup: 11 ESPN ‘selfies’ celebrating the 2013 Word of the Year.
• ESPN Digital Media launched an all-new SportsCenter app this week for both iOS and Android smartphones. Learn more about the features of the new app. continue reading…
What happened when E:60 sent normally subdued and cerebral reporter Jeremy Schaap into a land far, far away?
“I enjoyed my time in the wonderful world of the Gronks,” said Schaap, referring to the time he was able to spend with New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski and his family. “The day I first met them, they were shooting a spread for Muscle and Fitness magazine. I declined to participate; I didn’t want to make them look bad.”
While “Gronk” has been making defenses look bad for two-plus seasons as the Patriots’ devastating tight end, it’s the complete package of on- and off-field antics that piqued E:60 producer John Minton III’s interest in the 23-year-old for tonight’s episode of the award-winning show.
“We spent a large part of Mother’s Day weekend with Rob, his father, Gordy and his four brothers,” said Minton, who also produced last year’s memorable Scott Hall feature for E:60. “. . . Rob took us to the Ale House in Amherst, NY where his brothers, family and friends from the area met for lunch and provided a tutorial of the fine cuisine suburban Buffalo has to offer. The two dishes most talked about were the Crown Royal wings, and the “Stingers”, a combination of steak and chicken fingers on a hoagie roll.” continue reading…
At UFC 152 Saturday in Toronto, Jon “Bones” Jones defends his light heavyweight title against Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort.
It’s the main event on the MMA card but just one highlight for the highly accomplished Jones family this weekend: Jon’s brothers Arthur and Chandler are playing against each other Sunday night when the Baltimore Ravens host the New England Patriots.
Even with this epic weekend before him, he visited ESPN’s Bristol campus Tuesday and took part in the “Car Wash.”
Front Row asked Jones his thoughts about ESPN, whether he intends to repay SportsNation for an Ipad he destroyed in 2011 and who would win in a showdown between the Jones Brothers and another notable NFL fraternity, the Gronkowskis.
What brings you to ESPN’s Bristol campus this time?
I’m spreading the word about mixed martial arts and I’m trying to get MMA out there on a more global level. Obviously, you guys are the favorite place to promote fights.
Who’s going to get more SportsCenter face time this weekend — you for your fight, or your brothers because they’re playing each other on Sunday night?continue reading…
If Jason (Pod Vader) Soderberg, an ESPN Audio digital media producer, told you he drove a 1998 Chevy Cavalier, it probably wouldn’t grab your attention.
But if he showed you a picture of his car, it might.
Most sports fans put a bumper sticker with their favorite team’s logo on their car to show support. Soderberg has taken that one step further.
His decked-out New England Patriots-themed car is usually parked in a lot near the building that houses ESPN Radio. But now it can also be seen in ESPN The Magazine’s “The Age Issue” — on page 12 — in mailboxes on Wednesday, on newsstands this Friday.
The Age Issue features Angels star Mike Trout on the cover.
Front Row talked with Soderberg about his car and what it’s like seeing it in The Magazine.
When did you first put the stickers on and why? I put the stickers on about two years ago. It was an old car that I knew I’d be trading in and a fan of one of the podcasts sent us these cools stickers. I didn’t know what to do with them and then my kids suggested I put them on the car. I thought it was a great idea so I put them on and my wife came home and said, “What have you done to the car?!”
What has it been like having the stickers on the car? It’s been pretty fun. A lot of Patriots fans will come up to me at gas stations and be like, “Yeah, go Pats!” I play tennis and I had to drive through a group of school kids and they all started cheering for the Giants. So I have to deal with that too. No one has vandalized the car though, which I’m very happy about.
Since you’re reading FrontRow.com, you wanted some “Gronkformation” about ESPN.
That’s what folks at ESPN Radio’s The Herd with Colin Cowherd would say as they attempt to use Super Bowl week’s most popular new term in a variety of ways.
New England Patriots 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end Rob Gronkowski has been the center of attention in Indianapolis.
His left ankle injury has attracted so much media focus that — as ESPN.com’s Ashley Fox notes — New York Giants defensive end Dave Tollefson suggested it get its own Twitter account: @Gronksankle.
The Herd producer Vince Kates, in Indy for Super Bowl XLVI, noticed the mania for all things Gronk.
“The term ‘Gronk’ has been thrown around so much this week — and it just came out of where — so we decided on some different uses for it,” Kates says.
That led to a bit during Wednesday’s Herd (10 a.m.-1 p.m. ET M-F, ESPN Radio, ESPNews) that probably had Noah Webster rolling over in his grave.
Host Cowherd would present a definition and Jim Cutler, the invaluable show contributor Kates calls “our voice guy,” would announce the word as only he can.
Colin would say, “You’re about to go out with your wife, and she looks smoking hot, she would look. . .”
“Gronkolicious,” Cutler would finish.
Another example: “You and the boys and going out and go clubbing a little bit, you’d say. .. ”
“Let’s get Gronked.”
“We send liners to Jim every morning for in-show teases, and Wednesday we sent him a bit of a curveball with some funny stuff,” Kates says.
“He’s always a good sport and knocks them out for us. The last time he did something for us like this, it was our new names for a Los Angeles NFL team — we had names like the LA Entourage, the LA Quakes, and the LA Blow.”
Cowherd says: “I like doing this kind of thing, especially in a week where we’ve got one main story to deal with. Finding the little things and getting the most out of them is what we like doing in The Herd.”
Gronkowski visited ESPN in August with his fellow NFL veteran brothers Chris and Dan for a Bristol Car Wash. Check out this Front Row piece and their ad libbed photo.
Gronkowski’s oddball personality and record-setting season as a high-scoring Tom Brady target has spawned all sorts of tributes.
Check out the myriad of impressions his Patriots teammates offered on Media Day in the video below.